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Durban - President Jacob Zuma, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula splashed out more than R15 million on VIP flights to holiday destinations and other locations.
In just over a year, Mapisa-Nqakula alone forked out R13m on 61 VIP flights while Zuma and Motlanthe’s recent holiday trips to Mozambique and the Seychelles respectively cost the taxpayer a combined R2.6m.
Zuma’s holiday break on Bazaruto Island in Mozambique this year was made up of 30 flights on a Falcon 900 aircraft and an Oryx helicopter at a cost of R1.6m.
It included six “ferry” flights, which means he was personally not on board at the time of the flight.
Motlanthe, on the other hand, was flown to the Seychelles by the SA Air Force soon after his loss to Zuma at the Mangaung conference in December last year. His journey was made up of two Falcon 900 flights.
Details of the VIP flights are detailed in a parliamentary response to a question from DA defence spokesman David Maynier, who asked Mapisa-Nqakula how many flights and ferry flights were taken on each specified aircraft operated by the SA Air Force since June 12 last year.
Nqakula said her own flights for the year ending in June this year totalled R13 039 217.36, with chartered aircraft making up R3 887 080.
Maynier said the SA Air Force’s operating budget had been “stripped to the bone”.
“However, there seems to be no shortage of funds for VIP flights. The SAAF seems to be in danger of being reduced to an airborne taxi service for VIPs,” said Maynier.